2015 Result:
Conservative: 23484 (46.8%)
Labour: 15114 (30.1%)
Lib Dem: 1111 (2.2%)
Green: 1124 (2.2%)
UKIP: 9306 (18.6%)
MAJORITY: 8370 (16.7%)

Category: Semi-marginal Conservative seat

Geography: South East, Kent. The whole of the Gravesham council area.

Main population centres: Gravesend, Northfleet, Meopham, Vigo.

Profile: A seat in North-West Kent. Gravesend itself is one of the poorer towns in Kent with the largest proportion of ethnic minorities and the highest proportion of council housing of any of the Kent constituencies. Like other areas in North Kent the area is undergoing large scale development, including in the Ebbsfleet valley to the west of Gravesend, close to the high speed rail station and in the run-down industrial area of Northfleet along the Thames waterfront. Labour voting Gravesend is balanced out by the Southern part of the constituency, south of the A2, which is made up of picturesque (and solidly Conservative) villages and hamlets such as Cobham, Sole Street and Meopham.

Politics: This is a classic marginal seat. Until 2005 Gravesham was the preeminent bellwether seat - it had been won by the party that went on to form the government at every general election since World War One with the exceptions of 1929 and 1951 - and in both of those cases Gravesend was won by the party that got the largest national share of the vote. In 2005 the trend was broken as Gravesham fell to the Conservatives, leaving neighbouring Dartford the most reliable bellwether.

Current MP
ADAM HOLLOWAY (Conservative) Born 1965, Faversham. Educated at Cranleigh School and Cambridge University. Former Grenadier Guards Officer, seeing service in the Gulf War, and television journalist. First elected as MP for Gravesham in 2005. PPS to David Lidington 2010-2011. Resigned as a PPS in 2011 to vote against the government on holding an EU referendum. As a journalist worked for Newsnight, ITN and World In Action, including living homeless for three months as part of the "No Fixed Abode" series.
Past Results
Con: 22956 (49%)
Lab: 13644 (29%)
LDem: 6293 (13%)
UKIP: 2265 (5%)
Oth: 2145 (5%)
MAJ: 9312 (20%)
Con: 19739 (44%)
Lab: 19085 (42%)
LDem: 4851 (11%)
UKIP: 850 (2%)
Oth: 654 (1%)
MAJ: 654 (1%)
Con: 16911 (39%)
Lab: 21773 (50%)
LDem: 4031 (9%)
UKIP: 924 (2%)
MAJ: 4862 (11%)
Con: 20681 (39%)
Lab: 26460 (50%)
LDem: 4128 (8%)
Oth: 543 (1%)
MAJ: 5779 (11%)

2015 Candidates
ADAM HOLLOWAY (Conservative) See above.
TANMANJEET SINGH DHESI (Labour) Born 1978, Ascot. Educated at Gravesend Grammar and University College London. Project director in the family business. Gravesham councillor since 2007.
ANNE-MARIE BUNTING (Liberal Democrat) Educated at LSE. Parliamentary researcher.
SEAN MARRIOTT (UKIP) Born 1967. Solicitor.
Comments - 179 Responses on “Gravesham”
  1. Holloway did a touch better than that in the end. Swing to Labour of just 1.5 per cent, contrasting with the small swing against Labour in neighbouring Dartford.

    The Tories won the council back here gaining one seat from Labour in Coldharbour Ward, one in Singlewell (the winning Tory candidate there is just 19 years old) and two in Painters Ash. Surely it would have been three in the latter but for the strange failure to field three Conservative candidates for a marginal three member ward.

    Holloway and re elected Central Ward councillor Greta Goatley have the distinction of being the first winning candidates I have cast a vote for in a FPTP election in what must be well over a dozen attempts.

  2. I have just posted on the Dartford thread about the politcial implications of housing development at Ebbsflled, but I should probably have posted these comments in relation to Gravesham, although the seats will probably have changed boundaries anyway by the time these developments are completed.

    The basic point is that housing developments in Gravesham are likely to overload a railway line which was in any case not designed for outer suburban commuting at the expense of longer distance travel. In fact HS1 repeated the mistakes of nineteenth centtury railways specifically through failure to provide for expansion to four tracks on the expansion to London. This will cause political pain in times to come.

  3. By elections here today for Pelham Ward on the borough council and Gravesham East Division on Kent County council. The borough ward should be a safe Labour hold, but the county division is competitive. By my reckoning the Tories outpolled Labour in the division in the 2015 borough election (that’s on a GE turnout and using the 2011 result for Westcourt Ward as it was won by Labour unopposed in 2015).

    I think there is a decent chance of a Tory gain. If there’s one place Corbyn led Labour will struggle to get their vote out its north Kent. It should definitely be closer than in the 2013 Kent CC election.

    We received election addresses from the Conservative, Labour and UKIP candidates for Gravesham E, although only the Conservative one arrived before the postal votes went out.

  4. The Tories did indeed gain the Gravesham E Kent CC seat from Labour. As expected Labour retained the Pelham borough ward.

  5. Terrible turnout in Gravesham E of just 16.38 per cent.

  6. Gravesend used to operate rather battered green Routemasters on the 480 route until the end of 1979/early 1980.
    (From Northfleet Garage).

  7. I very much doubt Labour will take this seat ever again unless there is a 1997 style landslide. Chingford and Woodford Green is probably a better prospect these days.

  8. Extremely hard to see how Labour win majorities without at least a handful of seats in Kent, of which this would be one. So if Labour never win here again, it may mean they never win a majority again…

  9. @Jack its also very hard to see Labour getting a majority with derisory support in Scotland so the next Labour majority government could be a long way off. The next Labour government (whenever that happens to be) is likely to be a minority.

  10. ‘Extremely hard to see how Labour win majorities without at least a handful of seats in Kent, of which this would be one. So if Labour never win here again, it may mean they never win a majority again’

    Not really, Labour could quite plausibly win a majority without winning a single seat in Kent – surely its time to change it’s nickname to the back yard of England, rather than the Garden

    It’s unlikely to happen any time soon – but if UKIP are here to stay that could present Labour with a real problem as UKIP would surely cost them thousands of votes in the seats they otherwise might be able to win – your South Thanets, Dover and Rochester, Gravesend, Isle of Sheppey

    I think Labour could well be finished in Kent for the forseeable future

  11. Whenever Labour have won majorities, even very narrow ones, they have had seats in Kent (and Essex). Without them I really don’t see how they can get a majority, especially when you consider Scotland. They would need to be doing better in other places with marginals to compensate, but they aren’t really.

  12. ‘They would need to be doing better in other places with marginals to compensate, but they aren’t really.’

    At the moment they are not but that’s unlikely to remain the case forever

    Certainly as Max’s table showed, in England Labour’s greatest decline has been in places like Kent and Essex, where they look set to be replaced by UKIP as the official opposition to the Tories, but when they do recover, I’d expect that to start happening in places other than Kent and Essex, which despite containing lots of seats suseptible to large swings, where Labour’s middle class public sector metropolitan set, are completely alien to the sort of people who might in past days have voted for them

  13. It also underlines how foolish Labour were in the Ed Miliband days to convince themselves that UKIP’s presence would kill the Tory vote and deliver them the election

  14. The South-East in general is getting worse and worse for Labour (with the exception of Brighton and Hove and perhaps in the future, maybe Woking and Epsom and Ewell are perhaps getting a bit better demographically both areas voted remain but are not ultra wealthy)

  15. “Re: Epsom & Ewell
    Labour won’t win Epsom & Ewell for a long while yet because of two things: Kingston and Sutton.
    Until the aforementioned London Boroughs elect Labour MPs, the party hasn’t a cat in hell’s chance of winning Epsom.
    Worth remembering Labour are still below 1992 in Epsom & Ewell.
    Re: Woking
    None of the seats bordering Woking appear to be getting better for Labour. Surely Labour would strengthen in the Surrey seats that border London before the seats deeper into the county trend their way.
    The Tory majority is still a healthy 20,000 in Woking and I see Spelthorne as the only viable Labour seat in Surrey in the future (though not the near future obviously).”

    I meant that they are probably getting in a demographic sense better for Labour, not that they would come anywhere near winning them in a million years. They would still at least 10,000 behind either seat in a good Labour year. Woking and Epsom are more BAME than the average Southern Counties seat and more so than Spelthorne.

  16. It’s not just the case of it borders Kingston and Sutton for the Epsom and Ewell seat, the bits of Epsom that border Kingston and vice-versa are the kind of areas have voted Labour in the past, though if the MOR Epsom wards became the next Lower Morden or Norbury, the areas outside of the borough (Ashtead and Nork/Tattenhams) and around the Downs and East Ewell are absolutley hopeless for anyone but the Conservatives.

  17. Gravesend itself demographically is getting better for Labour but isn’t Ebbsfleet going in the opposite direction?

  18. Holloway won’t lose this one.

    CON HOLD 13,500

  19. Surprised to be canvassed here by Labour this morning. First time I’ve been canvassed by anyone since moving here five years ago.

  20. I’m surprised by that because this barely looks a viable target for Labour any more, let alone the ‘bellweather’ seat it used to be. Having seen a 2% swing to Labour in 2015, there was a 1% swing to the Conservatives this time, similar to what happened across the former North Kent marginals.

  21. These kind of middling, not particularly nice but not particularly deprived Kent/ Essex towns have truly fallen out of love with the Labour Party. It’s hard to see them doing well even with a more ‘appealing’ leader from the right of the party.

  22. Yes, although all of this is in the context of both parties increasing their vote significantly in the vast majority of seats and where the relative underperformance is on either side,

  23. This seat went against the grain nationally in 2005 so the precedent is there for this seat to narrowly stay Tory next time even if there is a considerable Labour win nationally.

  24. JJB- that’s a very good point. Percentage wise Labour’s performance in these seats is ok (at least in this election), but that masks the fact that they are struggling hugely in these places.

  25. Adam Holloway spent the parliamentary recess sleeping rough as part of a fact-finding mission:

    Respect for anyone who puts themselves through that (and, of course, for those who have no choice). I tried sleeping rough for one night to raise money for a local shelter, and was nearly hospitalised when I got rained on and started shivering uncontrollably.

  26. Gravesham Council’s Deputy Leader Conservative Cllr John Knight has appeared in Court and denied assaulting colleague Cllr Bryan Sweetland in a car park.

    His Trial begins on 24th July.

  27. Labour has gained Gravesham council from NOC (Tory led).

  28. Gravesend East ward by-election, 17.10.19 (caused by the death of a Labour Cllr, aged 59):

    Cons 492 50% (up 21% )
    Lab 314 32% (down 6% )
    UKIP 116 11%
    Green 60 6%

    Cons Gain from Labour.

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